Routes South West held the Regional Finals of its two language competitions at the University of Exeter on Friday 4th May 2012. In attendance were secondary school children from across the South West competing against each other to be crowned regional winners in the third annual ‘MFL Speaking’ and fourth annual ‘Pop Video’ competitions.
The two competitions were devised to encourage young people to celebrate and engage in modern foreign language learning at secondary school level and beyond. Although they are different in format, students are challenged to exercise their lingual skills and to be creative and entertaining. Every secondary school and sixth form college across the region are invited to participate.
The regional MFL Speaking Competition final welcomed the winners and runners-up from three local finals held in Barnstaple, Bath and Swindon last March when 100 secondary students across the South West competed against one another. Each contestant made a presentation in the language of their choice along a suggested pre-determined theme suitable for the respective age groups. The students were marked on their presentation as well as language skills and many of them included a creative element by using PowerPoint or presenting a 2-3 minute performance.
This year it was decided to hold the regional final for all the local winners to encourage young people to progress with their language learning further as the competition is becoming more and more popular every year. This year’s regional winners for the respective Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 categories were Robert Oades from Braunton School and Community College who received the plaudits from the panel of judges for his German recital and Lewis Nightingale from Chew Valley School for his Spanish presentation. And the winners are so enthused now that they are dreaming of competing at the national level!
The Pop Video Competition requires entrants to produce an original pop video song in a foreign language of their choice, and is split into three different categories. 35 video clips were received from secondary schools across the South West. The winner of the 11 to 14 years category was Kathryn Moses from Highcliffe School, Dorset for her song “Volvere” and the 15 to 18 years age group was won by Sam Jackson and Sam Nailor with “J’ai decouvert”, also from Highcliffe School.
The third and final category in the competition is the “Online Viewers’ Award”, won by Paddy Benedict, Julius Malin, Alex Barnard, Heidi Hernandez, Marianna Hunt & Vaughan Tinsley from The Corsham School for their song, “Diversité et Égalité”.
Unlike the other two awards which were selected by a panel of judges, the Online Viewers’ Award is decided by the general public. Students, parents, family and friends were invited to view all the entries on the RiL South West YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/RiLSouthWest) and cast their vote for their favourite one. In just six weeks the competition attracted over 10,000 viewings of the videos with a total of 1,509 people voting.
All the winners and runners-up of both competitions received cash prizes as well as trophies and certificates. At the end of the event the participants and guests enjoyed a live performance by Gareth Allen from Queen Elizabeth Academy with his last year’s Online Viewers’ Award winning rap “Je ne suis pas un rappeur français”.
It was thought that this was the final year that the two competitions would run, and indeed the Routes into Languages programme, as funding from HEFCE was due to conclude in July 2012. However, it has recently been announced that the project will be extended for one more year until August 2013 which will mean both competitions will take place for one more year.